People Incorporated to Begin Offering Community-Based Behavioral Support for Jail Inmates

May 13, 2021

At least one-third of people incarcerated in Minnesota county jails may be struggling with a mental illness, and many others are undiagnosed. They need help but often there are too few resources available.

People Incorporated Mental Health Services is hoping to change that with the launch of a new Corrections Integrated Support program funded through a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) expansion grant. The grant is provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The program provides individuals in Minnesota county jails easy access to a multi-disciplinary team of People Incorporated mental health professionals. These professionals will provide mental health assessments, diagnosis, person-centered mental health, substance use treatment planning, and care coordination. Post-release transition support is also available, which extends beyond mental health, helping people connect to employment, housing, income programs, vocational/educational counseling, and more.

“The lack of access to social support services in our county jail system is an ongoing crisis,” says Wendy Waddell, chief operations officer at People Incorporated Mental Health Services. “Many in our community may not be able to identify their own mental health or substance use needs, or where to receive support, and therefore find themselves revolving through systems that are not equipped to provide the appropriate help they need. Our Corrections Integrated Support program will create a positive path forward for these individuals — helping reduce recidivism and enhance long-term recovery and wellness.”

In 2016, Minnesota’s legislative auditor determined the need to fund and implement a more comprehensive set of community-based mental health services in county jails. Yet finding a source for funding and staffing made providing this level of support challenging.

That’s why People Incorporated jumped at the chance to apply for the CCBHC grant to help Minnesota county jails create a continuum of care. The goals of the program include: helping county jails increase their capacity to identify inmates with mental health needs, improve quality of life among jail inmates pre-and-post release, and enhancing community health and safety.

“Receiving this grant is an important step forward toward designing a system of care that creates a critical lifeline for those in our county jail system,” says Waddell. “Mental health is community health, and we have to continue to partner with our community to build systems of support for the vulnerable and underserved. It’s the only way to make care truly accessible to all.”

People Incorporated is seeking licensed Mental Health Professionals, Adult Rehab Mental Health Services (ARMHS)/Care Coordinators, Peer Support Specialists and more to be part of the Corrections Integrated Support team.